The month of April is dedicated to Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention,a difficult issue that many people have a hard time discussing especially on college campuses. Rachel Krantz, president of Strong Voices, a support and advocacy group for sexual assault, talks about the events the club is planning to help bring awareness to the topic.
What is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention month?
Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention month is designed to bring awareness to any topic related to sexual assault. It is a topic that sometimes is uncomfortable to talk about or people dismiss it and sweep it under the rug. It is important at Juniata because one out of five women will be sexually assaulted during their time at college. The statistic is surprisingly high for men as well and I think that it is really important issue to talk about in a college setting. We have a lot of power as young people to notify the government and the media to bring about change and positive legislation that will help survivors.
What are the events Strong Voices created to bring awareness to sexual assault?
We did a Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention discussion panel on April 19. Dan Cook Huffman, Pat Hunter, Luke Thompson, Jesse Leonard, and two survivors of sexual assault shared their stories and their roles at Juniata as they are related to sexual assault on college campus. This week, we are going to holding a candlelight vigil.
3. What are the resources available at Juniata for help in a situation of sexual assault?
I want to point out the fact that Strong Voices is not really an appropriate resource to turn to if you have been sexually assaulted and you are trying to report it. We are an advocacy and support group. If you are looking to report a case of sexual assault, you could definitely go directly to Juniata’s Public Safety. Sometimes, people find that intimidating so you are encouraged to your Res Life staff. Also, Health and Wellness could be a great resource as well.
4.Do you feel that the issue of sexual assault is taken seriously?
The general way in which it is handled or discussed is not good at all. It is not something that colleges like to talk about because it makes the schools look dangerous or unsafe and that is why it our duty to bring attention to it and fight the colleges that are trying to cover it up.
5. What would you want students to come away from these events by attending these events?
Just by attending the events alone, I think that it is really enlightens people because a lot of people are unaware of the statistics and just the sheer number of people that are affected by this. One of my biggest goals in Strong Voices is to change people’s language because the language people often use put the blame on the survivors. What people need to remember, no style of dress or life decision asks for sexual assault. No survivor of sexual assault wishes for that to happen to them. We need to learn from these events that you can victimize a person just by your language and we need to get out of this victim blame mindset.
Corey Lacey ’14, Juniata Online Journalist